Heemstead/Bloemendaal On January 1, people everywhere in the Netherlands dive into the water again to celebrate the New Year in a traditional way. In Heemstead, it will take place at 2pm in Heemstead Harbour, organized by the Rotary Club of Heemstead, and in Bloemendaal enthusiasts will also take a dip in the sea. Hundreds of rescuers monitor the safety of participants at a large number of sites. But not all of these events involve our local rescue teams. Swimming in cold water is not always risk-free. The Dutch Rescue Brigade warns of the dangers and provides advice.
During a New Year's Diving Trip, thousands of people in the Netherlands dive in cold open water on the first day of the New Year. This tradition provides a lot of fun every year. However, it is important for participants to realize that diving into the new year can also be a life-threatening situation. An extreme reaction that can occur when diving into cold water is the “cold shock response.” Symptoms include increased heart rate, rapid and uncontrolled breathing, inability to hold the breath, confusion and panic.
It is important to prepare well to dive into the new year. Cold water in the sea or inland waters has a great effect on the body. So take the following tips into consideration:
Join an organized diving trip
Join an organized diving trip. It is preferable that this be supervised by volunteers from the Rescue Brigade. Adherence to the organization’s instructions. Do not land dive in places where assistance is not available.
Prepare well. Check in advance where emergency services are located. If you do not feel well during or after diving, seek emergency care as soon as possible. Not feeling well before diving? Then don't participate at all.
Stay warm: Warm up beforehand and wear a hat. During the warm-up, keep your clothes and shoes on for as long as possible, until shortly before the countdown to the New Year's dive. To do this, keep moving constantly. You wear a hat because you lose a lot of heat through your head.
Stay close to the beach
Stay close to the beach. Don't go too far into cold water, and it's best to still be able to stand.
Get out of the water quickly and find a warm place
Get out of the water quickly and find a warm place. Find a place out of the wind, preferably in a warm room. Dry yourself completely. Get dressed quickly and put on slippers or shoes immediately.
Have a warm, sweet drink or soup
Alcohol does not warm you up, on the contrary; A cold body with alcohol consumption can cause hypothermia. Instead, have a warm, sweet drink and/or soup.
Photo: New Year's Dive in 2023 at Hempstead Harbour. Photographer Harry Ovekens.
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